Vancouver is on the hunt for a new city bird for 2016, and the campaigning starts right now.
City hall and the park board have just kicked off the second annual super-serious city bird election by unveiling the four candidates: Peregrine Falcon, Western Grebe, Barn Owl, and Barn Swallow. All of the #VanCityBird nominees are described as "rare birds" and were green-lit by the city's bird advisory committee.
Voting starts immediately and closes at the end of Vancouver Bird Week, which runs May 2 to 9. Physical ballot boxes—we're not kidding—are located at Central Library, Hillcrest Centre, Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre (site of the Bird Friendly Design Guidelines exhibition), Stanley Park Ecology Society, and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Anyone can also vote online multiple times.
Last year, Black-Capped Chickadee became Vancouver's first democratically elected city bird. The songbird known for its "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call bested Anna's Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, and Pacific Wren, topping the polls with 277,924 votes. (That's more than three times as many votes as Mayor Gregor Robertson netted in the 2014 civic election.)
As the city's official bird for 2015, Black-Capped Chickadee took over the office from Northwestern Crow, which was undemocratically appointed to the position for 2014.
For the 2016 contest, an all-candidates debate is planned for April 24. And, of course, the birds—well, the city staffers campaigning for them on the public's dime—will be tweeting it up on Twitter during the campaign.
Here's a look at the four contenders for Vancouver city bird in 2016.
Also known as: Falco peregrinus.
Tweeting at: @vanperegrine.
Get-out-the-vote slogan: "Kack-kack-kack-kack."
Bird nerd fact: Mostly feeds on other birds, including pigeons.
Campaign promise we made up: To end nestlessness by 2025.
Also known as: Aechmophorus occidentalis.
Tweeting at: @WesternGrebe.
Get-out-the-vote slogan: "Kr-r-rick, kr-r-rick."
Bird nerd fact: Known for "dancing" on water with "bits of weed" in its bill during courtship.
Campaign promise we made up: To designate separated flight paths in the downtown core.
Also known as: Tyto alba.
Tweeting at: @heyitsbarnowl.
Get-out-the-vote slogan: "Kleak-kleak."
Bird nerd fact: Precise hearing means it can catch prey in the dark.
Campaign promise we made up: To impose a new tax on vacant nests.
Also known as: Hirundo rustica.
Tweeting at: @thebarnswallow.
Get-out-the-vote slogan: "Cheep."
Bird nerd fact: Nests under bridges, docks, and eaves.
Campaign promise we made up: To lobby the federal government for a chick-care system that will cost parents one worm a day.
Which one of the candidates should become Vancouver's city bird for 2016? Make your case in the comments!